Electric Thornton

…the expression of a well-made man

appears not only in his face,


It is in his limbs

and joints also,


it is curiously in the joints

of his hips and wrists,


It is

in his walk,


the carriage

of his neck,


the flex of his

waist and knees,


dress does not hide him,

The strong sweet quality he has

strikes through the cotton and broadcloth,


To see him pass

conveys as much as the best poem,

perhaps more,


You linger to see his back,

and the back of his neck

and shoulder-side.


…O I say these are not the parts and poems of the body only,

but of the soul, O I say now these are the soul!

from I Sing the Body Electric
by Walt Whitman

18 thoughts on “Electric Thornton

    1. I’ve always liked this verse b/c it highlights the sensuality of seemingly unexciting body parts. I’ve always been enticed by things like hands and shoulder-blades and collarbones, paid special attention to how a man walks and the way clothes sit on his body, etc. 😎


      1. Totally agree with you! The collarbone is one of my favourite parts. Then there are the armpits (preferably hairy – ok, I know, that won’t go down well), and that enticing little spot by the loins where the hipbone meets this flat bit of flesh… Mind you – I like that on *any* man – not just RA (sorry, man!) 😉


        1. I love that little indentation between the hip and the navel

          and that curve by the ribs…

          (men’s arm pits are supposed to be hairy, that’s what makes them *male* 😉 )


    1. “if you want to know if he loves you so it’s in his kiss” I can’t relate to the Fame song, which is within my time period, but I can to something from the 1960’s instead 😆


      1. I actually think of that song as being from the 90s because I associate it with the movie Mermaids (which is why I used that video). The movie starred by first big movie crush Michael Schoeffling, who was the Orlando Bloom of his day (visually anyway; he usually played impossibly handsome, impossibly nice guys) and then vanished completely from movies.

        He is now a sort of symbol for vanished heart-throbs – as in this cartoon (which should have special meaning for MorrighansMuse 🙂 ) http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/b6/88/99/b688995173b3d585bf5378e0d6e806e1.jpg


  1. Kelbel75:

    I’m trying to not be distracted by the body-part fangirling in the posts above (down, girls, down!) and react, instead to your fabulous, gorgeous use of Walt Whitman’s poem.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ve made my day.

    Did you realize Leaves of Grass and North & South were published the same year (1855)? I wonder if Whitman and Gaskell read each others’ work.


    1. I’ve enjoyed this poem since I first discovered it as a young adult. it taught me to look at each individual part of the human body and recognize it’s beauty apart from the whole, then when you put them all together it’s so much easier to appreciate the natural beauty; very important to a self-conscious teenager 😉


      1. Whitman’s poems were also used to good effect in “Peggy Sue Got Married,” which is a pretty funny movie. Made in the 1980s.


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